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SBD Global/December 14, 2012/International Football

Copa Sudamericana Final Abandoned After Tigre Players Say They Were Attacked

Brazil's São Paulo FC's players and Argentina's Tigre's players scuffle during the Copa Sudamericana Wednesday.
Argentina club Tigre accused police of pulling guns on its players and "refused to emerge from the dressing room" for the second half of its Copa Sudamericana final on Wednesday, according to REUTERS. As a result, São Paulo was declared winners of the tournament after it had taken a 2-0 lead into halftime. The incident, in which Tigre said that it was attacked by around 20 men, "followed a brawl involving players and officials as the teams left the pitch at halftime in the second leg of the final at São Paulo's Morumbi stadium" (REUTERS, 12/13). In Buenos Aires, Eleonora Gosman reported five Tigre players "finished their night in a Brazilian police station." Tigre President Rodrigo Molinos said, "Our players came down to the dressing room where six security agents (from the stadium) were waiting to assault them." São Paulo President Juvenal Juvencio had a different opinion of why the Argentinians did not come out to finish the game. Juvencio: "In the second half they were going to suffer a route and for this reason they decided not to come out" (CLARIN, 12/13).

A CHAOTIC SCENE: Tigre defender Mariano Echeverria said, "We got to the dressing room at halftime and there were guys waiting for us with sticks and guns. After 10 minutes of fighting, the police came and took us." He added, "The referee was with us and saw the players get beat up. The assistants were in there too. They saw everything that happened at halftime" (EMOL, 12/13). The AP wrote the chaotic scenes in São Paulo are "sure to trouble FIFA," which already has been frustrated by slow preparations for the World Cup. Violence on and off the field "still blights many matches in South America, with Brazil and Argentina particularly affected." During the World Cup, FIFA relies on local officials and police to "enforce safety at the stadiums" (AP, 12/13). Former Tigre President Sergio Massa made the following comments to the Argentinian FA. Massa: "It's one of the most shameful pages in Brazilian football. We came to play a game of football, not a war. All this makes us very sad. We don't want to win or lose a game in the offices, but the AFA are going to have to make a strong protest" (PA, 12/13).
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